Most anime fans have at least one series that they can rely on for a comfort watch, no matter how many times they have seen it. The slice-of-life genre and its subgenre iyashikei are obvious places to look for an anime that breeds joy, comfort and important lessons mixed with light-hearted hijinks. Anime Silver spoon is no exception.
Perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work Full metal alchemistHiromu Arakawa sin Silver spoon is as much a timeless show as its predecessor. The Coming-of-age series explores the insecurities that often plague adolescence, and emphasizes patience and compassion along with the background of an agricultural high school. In the same way that the main character must learn to understand and take care of the animals around him, he grows to better understand the people in his life, and in turn himself.
Silver spoon follows Yugo Hachiken as he tries to escape the stress of life and studies in the city by attending a rural agricultural school far from home. He fails the entrance exams for the school he plans to attend, which strains his relationship with his family further and makes his plans for the future all the more uncertain. The world of Ooezo Agricultural High School – or Ezono – is proving difficult for Yugo to adapt to begin with, but the new responsibilities and friendships help him figure it out in more ways than one.
His choice to participate in Ezono is driven by the desire for what he assumes will be a simple experience after his failure. Yugo is quickly proven wrong by the amount of work and difficulty involved in caring for pets. With the help of his classmates, he can learn to take care of the many animals on the farm, but he also realizes how lost he is when everyone else already seems to have a fixed path for where they will end up after high school. During the series, Hachiken gets an insight into the lives of his classmates and the future they are working towards, and sees that they also face obstacles and try to find a place for themselves just like himself.
Yugo’s lethargy and disillusionment with the future is something many can relate to. However, what makes this growing story so heartwarming is the character’s ability to grow and learn about the connection between living things and what community means. While his strict upbringing has made him a person who does not dare to refuse to help others, Yugo’s priority was always himself, and he rarely cared about the lives of others. Life in Ezono, however, meant that he regularly had to work with others to complete their daily, labor-intensive tasks. Patience is the key to Yugo learning about his surroundings and helping him accept that everything takes time. He also discovers how he can be patient with himself as he thinks about the future.
The closer Yugo gets to his classmates at Ezono, the more he learns about their plans after high school. Given that many of them continue family businesses, he also learns about the costliness and difficulty of maintaining their various farms. Even when he knows that his actions will not solve their problems, Yugo commits himself to helping his friends and families every time to try to relieve their stress. As difficult as Ezono’s new environment is to adapt, Yugo does not give up and instead welcomes the new lifestyle and experiences. In learning not to give up and to fight for something he sincerely wants and believes in, he aims to do everything to keep his friends’ dreams alive.
Despite being unsure of what to pursue in adulthood and still dealing with feelings of inferiority, he is able to find himself in a place that challenges him in a number of ways. Through it, he is able to learn and practice compassion and empathy for others. As a result, Yugo also discovers how he can better understand his own needs and deal with his strained family relationships. No matter how much of a whim it may have been, participating in Ezono Yugo matures and gives you more confidence in planning a future for yourself that is not dictated by anyone else’s expectations. By becoming a more empathetic person, he eventually gets a new sense of purpose.
Silver spoon symbolizes the essentials of finding one’s place and growing into oneself. It’s a story all about Yugo learning and growing into a better person by recognizing what it means to work with and understand others in society. Although there are plenty of humor and genuine educational moments woven into the story, Yugo’s personal journey remains consistent and heartfelt throughout. Arakawa’s slice-of-life shonen title is as memorable as her first hit thanks to its unique setting and universally gripping story.
Both seasons off Silver spoon can be streamed on Funimation and Crunchyroll.